Bangladesh sentences 5 to death for murder of blogger
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) – A special court in the capital of Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced five members of a banned militant group and a sixth man to life in prison for the 2015 murder of a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger to death known for speaking out against fundamentalism religions.
Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born American citizen, was killed with an ax in the streets of Dhaka while walking with his wife near an annual book fair. His wife, who is a blogger, was injured and now lives in the United States.
The judge of the Special Anti-Terrorism Court, Majibur Rahman, delivered the verdicts in a crowded courtroom in the presence of four defendants. Two others, including the sacked military official Sayed Ziaul Haque Zia, are still at large.
The judge had previously issued arrest warrants against them.
Tuesday’s verdict came in the same court that sentenced eight Islamist activists to death last week for the 2015 murder of a publisher of books on secularism and atheism.
In Roy’s case, the prosecution submitted closed-circuit camera footage of the murder, video statements of the defendants and their confessions, as well as copies of text messages in court as evidence.
In the judgment, Rahman said the prosecution was able to prove the charges against the six defendants without a reasonable doubt.
For Bangladesh, 2015 was a volatile year, as suspected members of radical groups in a series of bombings killed several atheists, bloggers and foreigners. A bomb attack in Dhaka on October 24, 2015, targeting minority Shia Muslims, killed a teenager and injured more than 100 people.
Authorities say the activist network shattered the activist network in a massive crackdown following a 2016 attack on a cafe in Dhaka in which 22 people, including 17 foreigners, were killed, as well. that five attackers. Since the 2016 attack, around 100 suspected members of national groups such as Ansar al Islam and Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh have been killed in raids across the country. These suspects include some of the main commanders, authorities say.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the coffee and other attacks, but the government of Bangladesh said national groups supported them and insisted that IS was not present in the country.